Atlanta Falcons: John Abraham's Top 5 NFL Quarterbacks
This week I caught up with Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham.
Abraham, a 12-year veteran from the University of South Carolina, has seen plenty of different quarterbacks and has dominated nearly all of them.
Abe has registered 104.5 sacks in his long NFL career, but the Pro Bowl sack machine seems to have plenty of green grass left in front of him.
He has a few quarterbacks he'd like to get in front of, and in the face of, as well.
Here's the five current NFL quarterbacks Abraham thinks are the cream of the crop.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
"I have not even played against him yet, but I think he's going to be great," said Abraham about the Lions third-year quarterback.
"He's really hot right now."
Not only is Stafford hot, but his team is hot. The Detroit Lions have become what some are dubbing the new America's Team thanks to a 4-0 start that includes two unthinkable comebacks.
So far this year, Stafford has completed 62.1 percent of his passes for 11 touchdowns and just three interceptions for a quarterback rating of 100.4.
Abraham will get his chance to face Stafford in Week 7 when the Falcons visit Detroit.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
"Brees pretty much controls the offense," said Abraham.
John Abraham is also plenty familiar with Brees, who's been quarterbacking the Saints during the revival of an intense rivalry between New Orleans and Atlanta.
Abraham will have the opportunity to face Brees twice this season (if not three times, depending on playoff scenarios), and will have his chances to get after the 11-year veteran out of Purdue.
Although Brees is one of the most respected quarterbacks in the NFL, as well as one of the most efficient, the Falcons had their way with him last season.
Brees struggled in a home loss to the Falcons early in the year. In the rematch at the Georgia Dome, Abraham was one of two defensive lineman for the Falcons to intercept a Brees pass.
The Falcons will need more terror like that from The Predator if they are going to reclaim the NFC South title.
Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
"He's going to be good," said Abraham about Buccaneer's signal caller Josh Freeman.
"He's probably one of the toughest guys in the league to bring down right now. He's tough to tackle."
At 6'6", 248 lbs, Freeman is quite the tree trunk, and he commands the offense with a calm that is rare among young quarterbacks.
Like Atlanta's own Matt Ryan, Freeman came into the NFL and immediately turned around the fortunes, fanbase and direction of his previously struggling franchise.
The Buccaneers lost two heartbreakers to Atlanta last season, finishing with a 10-6 record, and are currently in first place in the NFC South with a 3-1 record.
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
Rob Carr/Getty Images
"He's the toughest guy to prepare for because you never know what you are going to get," said Abraham.
That statement carries even more weight considering Abraham played with Michael Vick during the 2006 season in his first fall with the Falcons.
Vick is, again, one of the biggest names in the NFL, and rightfully so. The dual threat quarterback is a nightmare for opposing defenses.
Sure, he's been banged up lately, and his offensive line has let him down. But, Abraham, like the rest of the NFL, know how dangerous and impossible to stop Vick can be.
Never knowing what you are going to get also takes on a new, dynamic meaning now that Vick has developed a downfield passing game.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
As each day goes by, it becomes more and more in the norm to declare Aaron Rodgers as the best quarterback in the NFL.
"He's the toughest person to play against now," said Abraham.
Rodgers dissected the Falcons secondary in last year's divisional playoff game, knocking off the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC. Rodger's combination of mobility, composure, downfield awareness, and rocket arm made life nearly impossible for the Falcons defense.
"Aaron is a mobile quarterback, but he does everything," said Abraham.
Rodgers has completed an outstanding 73.1 percent of his passes so far this year, and has thrown 12 touchdowns to just two interceptions.
Abraham hopes that interception number goes up on Sunday.
"We play him this weekend," said Abraham. "That's going to be a big challenge."
Abraham and the Falcons host Rodgers and the Packers for Sunday Night Football on NBC this weekend.